International Ice Hockey Federation

Women’s Worlds host in shape

Women’s Worlds host in shape

Sweden’s Damkronorna wins, Raty returns

Published 10.02.2015 11:56 GMT+1 | Author Martin Merk
Women’s Worlds host in shape
Also thanks to stellar goaltending from Sara Grahn and Kim Martin Hasson, Sweden won the Euro Hockey Tour event in Finland in February. Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / HHOF-IIHF Images
With seven weeks to go until the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Malmo, host Sweden showed a strong performance in the February break.

In the last international break before the Women’s Worlds, Sweden won the women’s Euro Hockey Tour event held at various venues in Finland although the yellow-and-blue team had to battle hard in every game to achieve three wins with the tightest margins.

The first game in Vierumaki against Germany was scoreless until Erika Grahm hit the back of the net with three minutes left in the middle frame. At 3:25 of the third period Emma Nordin made it 2-0 but the Germans didn’t give up and Eva Byszio, who is battling for her first Women’s World Championship participation, scored on a 5-on-3 at 14:19. Germany got another power play but wasn’t able to tie the score.

Sweden was clearly outshot in the second game in Mikkeli against host Finland but it was Sweden’s Melinda Olsson who opened the scoring at 7:43 of the middle frame. The Finns had trouble overcoming a strong Sara Grahn, who had a 36-save performance, in the Swedish net. Only Jennica Haikarainen managed to get the puck past her with the game-tying goal at 7:07 of the third period.

The game had to be decided in game-winning shots after a scoreless overtime period and of the three shooters on each side only Sweden’s Hanna Olsson was successful.

However, Finland remained in the race for first place thanks to a 1-0 edging of Russia and a 2-1 overtime win against Germany. Sweden needed at least one more point from the last game against Russia. Easier said than done. Hanna Lindqvist brought her team on the scoreboard at 6:25 of the opening frame but Yekaterina Smolina tied the game for Russia ten minutes later. It was Olivia Carlsson, who scored the game winner at 15:33 of the second period. The goal remained unanswered and Sweden won the game, 2-1, as well as the tournament. Finland had to settle for second place behind Russia and Germany.

Continue reading

The tournament win was a good omen for Sweden ahead of the Women’s Worlds on home ice. Sweden was already the best team behind Canada but before its European rivals in the Nations Cup 2015 held in January in Germany and was third behind Canada and the United States but before Finland in the Four Nations Cup in Kamloops, Canada, in November. Only in the December break when Sweden hosted a Four Nations Tournament in Uppsala the Swedes were ranked behind their European rivals as third team in the standings after Russia and Finland.

Strong goaltending and Raty comeback

Sweden won thanks to strong team play and stellar goaltending. Grahn had a 96.43 save percentage from her two games, Kim Martin Hasson equally impressed with a 96.00 figure in her only start. Tournament scoring was divided on many shoulders. Russia’s Alevtina Shtaryova was the only player to score two goals in the tournament.

Although Finland had to settle for second place there was also good news for the Lionesses. Goaltender Noora Raty, who announced her retirement from the Finnish women’s national team after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to focus on playing in men’s hockey, was back and earned a shutout with 14 saves in the 1-0 opening-day victory against Russia. It was her first women’s hockey game since the Sochi Olympics one year ago. She’s currently in the goal for Kiekko-Vantaa where she has played six games (91.07%) in the second-highest men’s league Mestis. She also played six games on loan for third-tier team Bewe TuusKi.

Czechs succeed in Switzerland

The Czech Republic lost the qualification series to earn promotion to the Women’s World Championship in November against Japan but they showed they are ready for another attempt to get back to the top division with a strong performance at the Four Nations Tournament in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The Czechs defeated Division I rivals Austria (6-1) and Norway (3-1) and scored an upset win against host Switzerland, the only top-division nation at the event. Swiss U18 star Alina Muller scored two goals within a span of less than two minutes but the strong Swiss start was spoiled before the end of the first period. Aneta Ledlova cut the lead 49 seconds after Muller’s goal. At 16:15 Vendula Pribylova tied the game and at 18:53, a few seconds after the Swiss had killed a penalty, Tereza Vanisova gained the Czechs the first lead of the game.

The Swiss ran into more penalty trouble and Lucie Povova scored on the first of the Czechs’ four power plays in the second period for the two-goal lead. Julia Marty cut the lead to 4-3 on a 5-on-3 with 9:39 left in regulation time but the score didn’t change for the rest of the game.

In a three-team tie with one win for each of the other teams Austria earned a second-place finish thanks to its high 7-2 win against Norway. Switzerland was third and Norway fourth.

The Austrians covered the top-three spots in the scoring stats. Eva Beiter led the tournament in points (8) and goals (4) followed by Denise Altmann (2+5), Anna Meixner (2+3), Czech forward Aneta Ledlova (3+1) and Swiss captain Julia Marty (3+1).

Hungarian and British upsets

Hungary won a Four Nations Tournament on home ice in Budapest despite being the lowest-ranked nation. But with strong junior classes increasing the strength of the senior team, the Hungarians hope to climb the ladder when competing in the Division I Group B next April in Beijing.

Hungary started with a 4-2 win against Division I Group B rival Slovakia before facing the two Division I Group A teams of the tournament. They lost 3-2 in a shootout to France whose forward Soline Fohrer scored the 2-0 goal and the shootout winner.

However, because France had lost the opening game to Denmark 2-1, Hungary still had the chance to win the tournament. All they needed on the last day was a win against Denmark.

Fanni Gasparics and Reka Dabasi scored two goals around the halfway mark and shortly after Michele Brix Nielsen and Silke Glud had tied the game for Denmark in the third period, Gasparics scored the 3-2 game-winning goal with 2:31 left in regulation time. Denmark had to settle for second place before France and Slovakia.

The Netherlands hosted Great Britain for two exhibition games in Dordrecht and Tilburg. The women’s national team of the Netherlands, which competes in the country’s third-tier men’s competition Promotie divisie but with body-checking eliminated from its games against the male club teams, used the advantage of having been together for a while to win the first game 3-1 thanks to three first-period goals.

Although competing in a lower group in the Women’s World Championship program, the British kept up well and won the second game 2-1 thanks to goals from Chrissy Newman and Georgina Farman.

Euro Hockey Tour in Finland
5 Feb.   Hollola (FIN)   Finland  -  Russia 1-0
5 Feb.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Germany  -  Sweden 1-2
6 Feb.   Mikkeli (FIN)   Finland  -  Sweden 1-2 PS
6 Feb.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Russia  -  Germany 3-0
7 Feb.   Mantsala (FIN)   Finland  -  Germany 2-1 OT
7 Feb.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Sweden  -  Russia 2-1
Standings: 1. Sweden 8, 2. Finland 6, 3. Russia 3, 4. Germany 1  
Four Nations Tournament in Switzerland
6 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Czech Rep.  -  Austria 6-1
6 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Norway  -  Switzerland 2-1
7 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Austria  -  Norway 7-2
7 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Switzerland  -  Czech Rep. 3-4
8 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Norway  -  Czech Rep. 1-3
8 Feb.   Schaffhausen (SUI)   Switzerland  -  Austria 7-5
Standings: 1. Czech Rep. 9, 2. Austria 3, 3. Switzerland 3, 4. Norway 3
Four Nations Tournament in Hungary
6 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   France  -  Denmark 1-2
6 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   Hungary  -  Slovakia 4-2
7 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   Slovakia  -  Denmark 2-3
7 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   France  -  Hungary 3-2 PS
8 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   France  -  Slovakia 3-2
8 Feb.   Budapest (HUN)   Denmark  -  Hungary 2-3
Standings: 1. Hungary 7, 2. Denmark 6, 3. France 5, 4. Slovakia 0  
Exhibition games
7 Feb.   Dordrecht (NED)   Netherlands  -  Great Britain 3-1
8 Feb.   Tilburg (NED)   Netherlands  -  Great Britain 1-2


Back to Overview